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AYSO Attempts World's Largest Pickup Game of Soccer

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MARION, Iowa - Soccer is a game of careful coordination and skill. The same goes for trying to get hundreds of kids together for a run at a world record for largest ever pick-up game of soccer. That’s what the American Youth Soccer Organization was trying to do Saturday at the Tuma Sports Complex in Marion.

“We probably have about 100 parent volunteers out here at a given time, and roughly a thousand players out here at a given time during their gaming sessions,” said Mary Hagensick, organizer of the event.

Hagensick said this is a nationwide effort for AYSO, involving thousands of kids like Parker Oldham.

“It’s pretty fun, not letting a referee telling to you what to do,” Oldham said as he took a breather on the sideline.

That’s the point of a pick-up game: get on the field, and have fun. No refs or scores needed.

“It’s an active sport, you run around,” Oldham told us.

Hagensick hoped the thousand or so kids playing throughout the day will be enough to break a record.

“As the players are coming in today, we are getting them checked in,” Hagensick explained. “What we’ll do is send that list of confirmed player checkins to our national group, then they’ll go back and tally that and see where we stand for the world record.”

Coach and regional commissioner Henk Rook said this event is made possible by hard-working volunteers.

“Everybody knows what needs to get done,” Rook told us. “Take the responsibilities, and run with it.”

With teams signified by colored jerseys, Parker is playing with and against friends.

“Yeah there’s Adam and then there’s Grant,” he said, pointing out two other boys on the field.

But when the jerseys come off at the end of each game, they’re all wearing the same white AYSO shirts, and they’re all here for the same reason.

“The thing I like about soccer is that it gets you active,” Oldham said. “It’s something better than sitting down and playing videogames.”

The world record attempt is part of AYSO’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Mayors Ron Corbett and Allen “Snooks” Bouska were there to proclaim this day as AYSO Day in Cedar Rapids and Marion.

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